Riverside County, California has been working with CJI since 2013 as part of the Pretrial Assistance to California Counties (PACC) grant with funding from the Public Welfare Foundation.
Over that time, CJI has assisted Riverside County Pretrial Services in choosing and implementing a pretrial risk assessment tool. Riverside chose to implement the Virginia Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument (VPRAI) and began steps to provide release recommendations to the judiciary based on defendants’ assessed risk and provide a continuum of risk-based pretrial supervision options. Those goals were accomplished—increasing the judicial concurrence rate from 55% at the start of the project to an average of over 70% for the 12 months ending April 2015, and increasing the success rate of defendants from an average of 63% (Aug – Oct 2014) to an average of 77% (Nov 2014 – Apr 2015)—and a validation study of the VPRAI was finalized earlier this year.
The validation study found that, the VPRAI had fair predictive ability for the Riverside pretrial population that it was being administered to. However, some questions were not adding to the predictive ability of the tool and the five risk levels did not all create distinctive failure rates. CJI experts, along with Brian and Lori Lovins of Correctional Consultants, Inc., modified the tool, creating an instrument which had five items and three risk categories. The modified tool, renamed the Riverside Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument, worked slightly better than the VPRAI and created more distinct risk levels within gender and racial groups.
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